Over the last 10 years, Scotland has built an enviable reputation as one of the best places on the planet to go mountain biking. With trail centres dotted across the mainland stretching from Glentrool in the south-west, to Golspie in the North Highlands, many with graded trails for all levels of ability, it's easy to get out there for an adventure amidst some of Europe's finest scenery.
But which are the best centres? Working with the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland project, we've listed our top 5 below. But do you agree? Tell us which are your favourites and why.
The 7stanes are seven purpose-built trail centres spanning the south of Scotland and Glentress, near Peebles, is widely regarded as the 'daddy' of all UK mountain biking centres. Over 300,000 visitors a year can't be wrong! The most popular of all the 7stanes, there's an extensive network of superbly maintained trails here amounting to over 70km and growing, and there's something for all abilities.
The busy main hub offers a large cafe and Alpine Bikes on-site have bikes for sale and hire and also offer servicing, repairs, clothing and accessories. In the lower car park, you'll find a toilet and shower block and a jet wash for removing trail crud.
To complete your visit, Glentress Forest Lodges offer great accommodation and camping options at the foot of the trails, so you can make a weekend of it!
Kirroughtree, in Dumfries & Galloway is another of the great 7stanes mountain biking centres. Featuring nearly 50km of green- to black-graded trails, it's home to one of the longest loops in Scotland - combining the red and black trails with the option to take on the rocky challenge of ‘McMoab’, pictured above, en route.
Through the enchanting woodland, the hard-packed trails flow really well in between some pretty challenging rocky features and as a result, these trails can become quite addictive.
A very pleasing new building at the heart of the trails, houses a visitor centre with a great little café, bike shop, toilets, showers and a bike wash and adds a modern, yet discrete central hub for your visit.
The Break Pad bike shop is very well equipped with some of the best brands for you to browse and also offers bike hire and repairs.
Located near Dalwhinnie in the Cairngorms National Park, this centre
offers 35km of lovely purpose-built trails, with great mountain views the higher you go.
From a meandering, short and gentle green trail to an intense rocky black trail and a fun orange-graded bike park descent full of berms, table tops and doubles, the centre has options for most abilities.
The main red loop consists of an upper and lower, allowing riders to adjust their route as they choose, throwing in some black features along the way, such as the popular ‘Air’s Rock’.
The Laggan Wolftrax centre is next to the car park and contains a bright, airy café with lovely views, toilets, and showers. Bothy Bikes
has a small shop on hand for quick servicing, retail and bike hire next to this.
This centre near Crieff in Perthshire, is an award-winning green destination. It offers accommodation, a Tea Garden serving delicious food and drink, Comrie Croft Bikes (for hire, servicing and spares) and a 16km network of well-constructed and maintained trails, all on-site.
Hone your skills in the Bike Skills and Fun Park, then hit arguably the best flowing blue trail in Scotland which runs for 4km. For more experienced riders there’s the technical, rooty and rocky 6km red and black trails.
On-site, the Tea Garden offers a great selection of locally sourced food and home baked treats and there’s also a bike wash, showers and toilets.
offers accommodation at the foot of the trails with the choice of a hostel, camping, or even Nordic katas. Trail guiding and coaching is also available from Comrie Croft Bikes with prior arrangement.Glenlivet
near Tomintoul, also in the Cairngorms National Park, is a hidden gem well worth exploring.
There are two trail circuits, a 9km blue loop which is ideal for novices and intermediates, and a 22km red trail which leads off the blue, which offers a great 6km singletrack descent which re-joins the blue. The majority of singletrack is smooth and flows well through the woods, even the climbs. These trails are perfect for mixed ability groups, where most technical sections are optional and well-constructed to build confidence along the way.
The Coffee Still Café at the trail head always offers a warm welcome and boasts a homemade menu with locally sourced produce. Bike hire is available on site along with some basic bike spares for purchase and access to a hose for bike washing duties. The café has set opening hours, but the toilets are open 24 hours.